1820-1829 timeline for Orford township

This page is a work-in-progress.

1820 – Eliakim Newcomb settled on Lot 62 north in the fall. [1]

1820s – Jacob Street and John Eberle settled with their families on Lot 72 where Palmyra is now located, on the north and south sides of Talbot Street, respectively. Nathaniel Mills located on Lot 69, north of Talbot Street. David H. Gesner located on Lot 63 south, William Ridley on Lot 61 north, and Alex. McTavish farther west. David S. Baldwin opened a tavern at Clear Creek. The Gosnell family arrived in the locality of what became known later as Highgate, but in the early days, was called the Gosnell settlement. Other pioneers in the vicinity of the Gosnell settlement included John Lee, Finlay McKerricher, and Thomas Tape.* [1]
*Note—Belden’s Historical Atlas (1881) does not cite the year, approximate or otherwise, that these latter families came to the township.

1824-07-31 – Visit to the township of Orford by Joseph Pickering, who was making enquiries as to the advantages and disadvantages associated with emigration to Upper Canada. [2]

1826 – Describing the survey work undertaken by Col. Mahlon Burwell (1783–1846) under the charge of Col. Talbot, Archibald Blue wrote: [3]

"The last division of [Burwell’s] survey is the most easterly, being in the township of Orford, and as the height of land there is very irregular it was found necessary to alter the direction of the road frequently. There are in all twenty-eight courses across the township, which has a width of 6-3/4 miles, and only one lot has a straight front. A large tamarac swamp was met with on the way, and there is a tradition that Mr. Burwell was nearly defeated in the effort to pass through it. The situation was reported to Col. Talbot, who with his usual urbanity directed the surveyor to follow the ridge. ‘Follow the ridge, if it takes you to—Hades.’ But I need not say that Col. Talbot used another word."

I heard this story from the late John Sinclair, who moved from Aldborough into Orford in 1832, and took up a lot on the Middle Road. My father, the late John Blue, was the second settler on this road in Orford, having been located by Col. Talbot late in 1826 or early in 1827. His nearest neighbor was four miles away, and the woods were alive with turkeys, deer and wolves.

1826 – The survey of the Middle Road portion (i.e., the Middle Range) of the township completed, settlers began to take up lots in the vicinity. [1]

1826-02 – John Blue arrived in Orford township. [1]

1827 – In the spring, John Blue built the first house in the Middle Range, on Lot 7 north. [1]

1828-01-07 – The first “Town Meeting” was held at David S. Baldwin’s tavern in Clear Creek, heralding the inception of municipal government in Orford township. The following parties were elected: David H. Gesner, Clerk (who continued in this position until 1841); James Morehouse, John Kitchen, Assessors; John Stewart, John Bury, Jr., Joseph Gosnell, Daniel McIntyre, Roadmasters; Wm. Bury, Constable; Wm. Ridley, Collector; Alex. McTavish, Eliakim Newcomb, Poundkeepers; Fred Lampman, James McLaren, Town Wardens. [1]

1829 – John Hatch made a pioneer location on the site of Duart; Timothy Newcomb locating west of that point; a Mr. Smith (having assisted with the survey of the Middle Range) took up a farm west of that again, as did John Sinclair, who had also assisted with the survey. [1]



Phelps, Edward, and Ross Cumming, eds. “Township of Orford.” Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Counties of Essex and Kent, 1880-1. Toronto: H. Beldon & Company, 1886.


Pickering, Joseph (late of Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire). “Township of Orford.” Emigration, or No Emigration; being the Narrative of the Author (an English farmer) from the year 1824 to 1830. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1830 (pp. 44-5).


Blue, Archibald. Colonel Mahlon Burwell, Land Surveyor. Paper read before the Canadian Institute, 22 April 1899. Pub. Toronto [undated] (pg. 52).

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© Alison Kilpatrick 2018